senate Bill S3076

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Establishes the peer advocacy and mentoring program

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to children and families
Feb 08, 2011 referred to children and families

Co-Sponsors

S3076 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7038
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Executive Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง522-a, Exec L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S6961, A10806

S3076 - Bill Texts

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Establishes the Peer Advocacy and Mentoring program; provides peer support, advocacy and mentoring for youth in residential care.

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BILL NUMBER:S3076

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the executive law, in relation to establishing the peer
advocacy and mentoring program

PURPOSE:
This bill directs the Office of Children and Family Services,
in consultation with the Office of Mental Health, to contract for the
establishment of a peer advocacy and mentoring program designed to
provide support for youth in residential facilities operated or
licensed by the department.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Sections 1 of the bill adds a new section 522-a to the executive law
directing OCFS within amounts appropriated to establish a Peer
Advocacy and Mentoring Program through contract with a not-for-profit
organization(s) specializing providing peer support and advocacy to
youth.
Services would be provided to youth residing in residential care
licensed or operated by OCFS or OMH, as well as those youth
transitioning or preparing to transition out of such placements, but
priority would be given to services for youth placed or committed to
state operated secure, limited-secure and non-secure juvenile
detention facilities and other residential facilities licensed to care
for court placed youth. This section sets out who can serve as peer
advocates and mentors, the access they shall have to youth in
residential care and to other offices designed to assist youth.

Section 2 provides that the bill shall take effect on the 90th day
after enactment.

JUSTIFICATION:
New York State licenses and operates various residential care
facilities and homes for youth including foster care, residential
treatment and juvenile justice. The support of peers, or individuals
who have had similar residential experiences, are valuable for people
in all areas and youth peer supports are no exception. Youth in
residential care have often experienced various traumas in their
young lives and associate some of those traumas with the adults in
authority who are making decisions on their behalf.

Youth who have experienced similar settings and hardships only to
navigate their lives in a positive way are uniquely equipped to gain
the trust and serve as a role model for youth in care.
Peer advocates would be between the ages of 16 and 30, have resided in
a state operated or licensed residential placement as a youth and
have completed training approved by the Commissioners. The peer
advocacy and mentoring program would serve as an outside, independent
advocate for youth placed in OCFS operated or licensed residential
care to help ensure their rights are protected and they have positive
role models as they heal wounds and prepare to transition back into
the community.


Given the recently revealed disturbing results of a 2007 US Department
of Justice investigation of four OCFS operated juvenile justice
facilities which found the use of excessive force and failure to
provide mental health care and treatment, the program would
prioritize services to youth in state operated juvenile justice
facilities. Independent oversight to protect the rights of the
approximately 1,000 youth in these particular care settings is
essential. Some distinguishing features of youth in the juvenile
detention facilities are that at least 65% have a mental health
diagnosis, more than half are on a psychotropic medication, more than
half are special education students with an IEP and the majority have
experienced some form of trauma in their lives and have been involved
in the child welfare system before being placed in a juvenile
detention facilities. These children need all the supports they can
get.

These defining characteristics combined with the appalling findings of
inadequate mental health treatment and treatment plans, insufficient
substance abuse services and improper medication management coupled
with evidence of brutal treatment for behavioral issues clearly
demonstrate that some outside oversight is needed. While a peer
advocacy and mentoring program is not sufficient to provide the
independent oversight that is necessary in our state operated
juvenile detention centers, it can play an important role in bringing
a voice to these youth and some transparency to the system while at
the same time providing real examples and connections to a future
filled with hope and opportunities.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
S.6961/A.10806 - 2010 - Referred to Finance

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
90 days after enactment.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  3076

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 8, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens. HUNTLEY, DIAZ, MONTGOMERY, STEWART-COUSINS -- read
  twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to  the
  Committee on Children and Families

AN  ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to establishing the peer
  advocacy and mentoring program

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1.  The executive law is amended by adding a new section 522-a
to read as follows:
  S  522-A.  PEER  ADVOCACY  AND  MENTORING  PROGRAM. 1. THERE IS HEREBY
CREATED WITHIN THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES, A PEER  ADVO-
CACY AND MENTORING PROGRAM.
  2.  THE  OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES SHALL, IN CONSULTATION
WITH THE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH AND  WITHIN  THE  AMOUNTS  APPROPRIATED
THEREFOR,  CONTRACT  WITH A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION OR ORGANIZATIONS
SPECIALIZING IN PROVIDING PEER SUPPORT AND ADVOCACY  TO  YOUTH  AND  THE
NEEDS  OF  YOUTH,  INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO EMOTIONAL AND BEHAVIORAL
NEEDS, TO ESTABLISH A PEER ADVOCACY AND MENTORING PROGRAM. SUCH  PROGRAM
SHALL  BE  DESIGNED  TO PROVIDE PEER SUPPORT, ADVOCACY AND MENTORING FOR
YOUTH RESIDING IN RESIDENTIAL CARE AS SUCH TERM IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPHS
(B) AND (G) OF SUBDIVISION FOUR OF SECTION FOUR HUNDRED TWELVE-A OF  THE
SOCIAL SERVICES LAW.
  3.  NOTWITHSTANDING ANY INCONSISTENT PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY,
PRIORITY FOR SERVICES UNDER THE  PEER  ADVOCACY  AND  MENTORING  PROGRAM
SHALL  BE GIVEN TO YOUTH WHO WERE PLACED IN RESIDENTIAL CARE PURSUANT TO
SECTION 353.3 OF THE FAMILY COURT ACT,  AND  WHO  RESIDE  IN  FACILITIES
DESCRIBED IN SECTION FIVE HUNDRED FOUR OF THIS ARTICLE.
  4.  PEER ADVOCATES ACTING AS EMPLOYEES OR VOLUNTEERS IN THE PEER ADVO-
CACY AND MENTORING PROGRAM SHALL: (A) BE INDIVIDUALS BETWEEN THE AGES OF
SIXTEEN AND THIRTY WHO HAVE:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD08768-01-1

S. 3076                             2

  (I) PREVIOUSLY BEEN PLACED IN RESIDENTIAL CARE AS SUCH TERM IS DEFINED
IN PARAGRAPHS (B) AND (G) OF SUBDIVISION FOUR OF  SECTION  FOUR  HUNDRED
TWELVE-A OF THE SOCIAL SERVICES LAW;
  (II) EXPERIENCED DISABILITIES OR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH NEEDS; AND
  (III)  SUCCESSFULLY  COMPLETED  TRAINING THAT HAS BEEN APPROVED BY THE
COMMISSIONERS OF THE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH AND THE OFFICE OF  CHILDREN
AND  FAMILY  SERVICES,  QUALIFYING  SUCH INDIVIDUALS TO WORK IN THE PEER
ADVOCACY AND MENTORING PROGRAM;
  (B) HAVE REASONABLE AND APPROPRIATE ACCESS  TO  YOUTH  IN  RESIDENTIAL
FACILITIES  AND  THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH YOUTH IN A PRIVATE, CONFI-
DENTIAL SETTING;
  (C) SERVE AS A LINK FOR YOUTH AND THEIR  FAMILIES  TO  OTHER  SUPPORTS
INCLUDING  THE ATTORNEY FOR THE CHILD AND THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN AS
DESCRIBED IN SECTION FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE-B OF THIS TITLE; AND
  (D) NOT IDENTIFY, IN ANY WAY, OUTSIDE OF THEIR SCOPE OF EMPLOYMENT  OR
DUTIES  AS  A  PEER  ADVOCATE,  THE NAME OR IDENTITY OF ANY YOUTH SERVED
WITHIN THE PEER ADVOCACY AND MENTORING PROGRAM WITHOUT THE EXPRESS WRIT-
TEN CONSENT OF SUCH YOUTH.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day  after  it  shall
have become a law.

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